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Much at stake for middleweight rivals

10/09/2014

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By JJ SADDINGTON

Cage Warriors 69: Super Saturday boasted two main events; CWFC 72 could make a case for having three…

CWFC middleweight world champion Jack Hermansson was hoping to defend his title twice in 2014, having captured the belt back in June at Super Saturday. After his recent first-round demolition of challenger Deyan Topalski following a series of devastating punches from back-mount, the Swede may have an opening for one more challenger this year.

On any other card, Che Mills (16-7-0-2) versus Jack Marshman (15-5) could easily take top billing as the night’s main attraction. A prospective fight-of-the-night candidate and the possible unveiling of the next challenger to Hermansson’s 185lbs throne, it’s a mouth-watering match-up that promises to deliver on all fronts.

As it stands, this Saturday’s CWFC 72 main card is dominated by a brace of world title fights, as both the welterweight and bantamweight belts will be on the line at the Newport Centre in Wales.

Having failed in his bid for 170lbs gold upon his return to the CWFC ranks in June of last year, Che Mills has had to work his way back into title contention - albeit in a different division. A step-up in weight class proved to be initially unsuccessful, as Mills succumbed to the ground-and-pound of Faycal Hucin at CWFC Fight Night 9 last October.

Jack Marshman’s CWFC career got off to an explosive start when he faced the heavy-hitting Abu Azaitar at CWFC Fight Night 10 this past March. Unfortunately for Marshman, it was Azaitar who was left standing when the two met in the middle and went toe-to-toe. Not the start Marshman had been hoping for.

The return fights for both men were risky in different ways: Marshman jumped back into deep waters, facing top UK prospect and TUF veteran Bola Omoyele - himself coming off a loss and looking to rebound. Mills took a potentially dangerous fight against the always-game Leeroy Barnes - one he couldn’t afford to lose and would need to win in convincing fashion.

The two delivered in spectacular style. Mills forced a bloodied and beaten Barnes to tap to a rear-naked choke at 4:46 of the first round at CWFC 68 in Liverpool, while Marshman seized an opportunity as Omoyele left his right arm open to attack, eventually locking up a fight-ending armbar in the dying seconds of the opening round at CWFC 69: Super Saturday in London.

Mills and Marshman have both worked their way back into title contention following devastating losses, finding themselves at potentially pivotal points in their careers. A loss for either fighter would likely mean a step back down the ladder, a loss of momentum and a missed opportunity. A win could result in a shot at the champion, Hermansson.

With a combined eighteen (T)KO wins and 21 first-round stoppages between them, neither man will be looking to go to the judges. Both fighters have a reputation for aiming to wrap things up inside the distance; often putting themselves at risk in the pursuit of doing so. This is one for the fans - Mills versus Marshman is not to be missed.

And this isn’t even a main event.

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